Protesters shout slogans during a rally near the golf course where the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system will be deployed in Seongju, South Korea, March 15, 2017. About 200 local residents attended the rally on Wednesday to protest against the deployment of THAAD system. (Xinhua/Liu Yun)
The X-band radar, a core element of the U.S. missile defense system dubbed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), will arrive in South Korea on March 16, a local broadcaster KBS reported on Wednesday.
The AN/TPY-2 radar and part of U.S. troops who will operate the THAAD battery are scheduled to make it to the Osan air base, some 60 km south of the capital city Seoul, on Thursday morning.
An unnamed government source was quoted as saying that other THAAD elements will arrive in South Korea one after another to respond to the advanced military threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The radar will be transported to an unknown base of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) to wait the construction of the base in southeastern South Korea where the THAAD battery is set to be installed.
The new arrival would follow two mobile launchers and part of the THAAD equipments, which got to the air base on March 6. The first pieces were also moved to an unknown USFK base.
THAAD is composed of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, an X-band radar and the fire and control unit.
The hurried push for THAAD was aimed to make it more difficult to put back the deployment decision as an early presidential election is scheduled to be held here on May 9.
In July last year, Seoul and Washington agreed to install a THAAD battery by the end of this year. The schedule was advanced to sometime between June and August this year and now as early as next month.
Many observers said THAAD is not a defensive weapon against the DPRK's nuclear threats but a trigger to make South Korea a part of the U.S. missile defense networking in Northeast Asia to contain China and Russia.
China and Russia strongly oppose the U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea as it breaks regional strategic balance and damages security interests of the two countries.
THAAD's X-band radar can peer deep into the territories of the two countries.